Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Signs: The Most Useful Things You Pay No Attention To (slate)
Most people, when they think about it, can point to signs that have failed them: the hospital complex that felt like a labyrinth or the exit they always almost miss. But the truth is that signage today is far better than it's been at any other point in history. A century ago, sign design wasn't a profession to speak of; the signs that guided riders and pedestrians (there weren't many drivers yet) tended to be informal and ad hoc. As the automobile took off, the world found it needed traffic engineers, and it was these men and women who were the first to think seriously about sign systems. America put national standards for road signs in place in 1935.